Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic and Basil for a TLC Book Tour

It’s TLC Book Tour Time!   I just finished Valencia and Valentine  by Suzy Krause.

About the book:

For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, debut author Suzy Krause delivers a quirky, colorful story about love, loss, second chances, and what it means to truly live.

Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist.

Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.

The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common…but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Suzy

Website | Facebook | Twitter |Instagram

About the author:

Suzy grew up in the village of Frontier, Saskatchewan, two hours from the nearest McDonald’s, one hour from the nearest movie theatre, half an hour from the nearest swimming pool. She now lives in Regina—the Queen City!—and it has all of those things and she doesn’t really use any of them. It’s small compared to New York, but compared to Frontier, it’s basically a megalopolis.

Suzy is a writer and a music lover. She’s been blogging  for over a decade, but she also writes, from time to time, on various arts, entertainment, and lifestyle websites. Valencia and Valentine is her first novel, inspired by her time working as a debt collector in Saskatoon (she received a lot of death threats that summer).

Writing a book has been on her to-do list since she was six-ish, so it’s good that she did it. You’ll be able to read V&V in June 2019, and a second is on its way for July 2020—please hold your horses; these things take time.

What I thought…

Hmmm.  I’m struggling with this review.  I enjoyed the alternating story lines (even though I got a bit annoyed at times with Valencia).   I kept wondering how the two plot lines were going to intersect and it wasn’t until the final third of the book that I figured it out.

I was a bit confused about some of the anachronisms that I felt existed with Valencia’s stories, but to go into it more would be a spoiler.

I finished the book, but at times it was a struggle.  I thought the construction of the plot was interesting and perhaps a bit innovative, but I guess I wanted it all to come together a bit earlier.

The theme that stuck with me the most is how we all want to re-invent ourselves at times and perhaps when we do weave stories with alternate perceptions, we are ensuring our sanity.

The Food:

There’s very little food in the novel:  some NYC street food like hot dogs and oily pizza.  The line that stayed with me was when Mrs. Valentine inferred she used to be a gardener but now she is relegated to one lonely basil plant.

The only thing related to the novel from the following recipe is that basil reference.

Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic and Basil


Easy-peasy side dish for your next BBQ.


  • 1 bunch asparagus, end trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. basil leaves


  1. Toss the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss in a grill pan and grill over hot coals for about 10 minutes, moving the spears around as they cook.
  3. Remove to a serving plate. Drizzle with balsamic and sprinkle the chopped basil over the top. Serve.

Yield: 4

The grilled asparagus was a great side with some simply spice rubbed baby back ribs and some rosemary roasted baby potatoes.

It was a perfect weekend meal!

Please check out the other book tour stops for Valencia and Valentine.


Saturday, June 1st: @hollyslittlebookreviews

Sunday, June 2nd: @bookstackedblonde

Monday, June 3rd: @inquisitivebookworm

Tuesday, June 4th: @sarahs_reads

Wednesday, June 5th: @oddandbookish

Thursday, June 6th: @_ebl_inc_

Friday, June 7th: @bookishconnoisseur

Saturday, June 8th: @dropandgivemenerdy

Monday, June 10th: @shereadswithcats


Monday, June 3rd: @my_book_journey

Tuesday, June 4th: @jackiereadsbooks

Wednesday, June 5th: @cassidys.bookshelf

Thursday, June 6th: The Hungry Bookworm

Friday, June 7th: @crystals_library

Monday, June 10th: She Reads With Cats

Tuesday, June 11th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Wednesday, June 12th: Books and Bindings

Wednesday, June 12th: @saturday_nite_reader

Thursday, June 13th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, June 17th: Eliot’s Eats

Tuesday, June 18th: Run Wright

Wednesday, June 19th: @thriftybibliophile

Thursday, June 20th: Treestand Book Reviews

Friday, June 21st: Not in Jersey

Monday, June 24th: Broken Teepee

Tuesday, June 25th: @angelareadsbooks

Wednesday, June 26th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, June 27th: Tar Heel Reader and @tarheelreader

Friday, June 28th: Lori’s Reading Corner – spotlight


I’m linking up with Foodies Read for June.

Plus linking up with Novel Foods.

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